Photo Credit:
UNRWA Office just south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

The Abuse of UNRWA

UNRWA’s evolving mission has distanced itself from core relief operations (as offered by the UNHCR) and the tone and tenor of the organization has come to mimic Palestinian society at large.  For example, UNRWA has come under repeated fire for its actions related to Jews and Israel.


During Operation Protective Edge, UNRWA schools extended the meaning of their new mission of “protection”.

  • UNRWA housed Hamas missiles in its schools;
  • It handed those missiles to Hamas while it was in active combat;
  • It watched as Hamas fired rockets into Israeli civilian areas from its courtyards.

Long ago, UNRWA stopped being an independent relief agency, but has morphed into a Palestinian agency with its own agenda, courtesy of funding by the global community.

Ending UNRWA

The Palestinians and the global community have been co-conspirators in a permanent welfare situation for over six decades. Meanwhile, there is a true humanitarian crisis around the MENA region which is underfunded and understaffed. It is time to transition to a new paradigm for each area in which UNRWA operates.

Lebanon and Jordan: Each country has been over-run with actual refugees from Syria and Iraq. These refugees sit in squalor and receive a fraction of the aid that the Palestinian permanent residents receive. It is unfair and outrageous. The UNRWA should hand over all of its operations to the host countries of Lebanon and Jordan. The incremental cost of carrying these facilities should be carried by each country, with a UN contribution made at the country-level which declines over time. At the same time, additional monies should go towards infrastructure for the new actual refugees.

Syria: As the country is still engaged in a civil war, the UN should still maintain operations until hostilities end.

West Bank and Gaza: If the UN truly considers Palestine a country, by definition there can be no Palestinian refugees or SAPs (Stateless Arabs from Palestine) in Palestine. And whether it is or isn’t, all UNRWA facilities should be handed over to the government. The UN will likely give monies to the government as part of establishing and stabilizing the country, which would help cover the cost of the former UNRWA facilities.

The world’s focus on the descendants of Palestinians who left their homes 66 years ago has hurt millions of refugees from around the world. In today’s particularly violent and unstable situation in dozens of countries, the United Nations must transition from spending billions of dollars in welfare checks to capable young SAPs, and direct funds to the millions who are fleeing their home countries due to war and violence.



Dying in transit:

Syria refugee count:

Libya refugees:

UNHCR staffing:

UNHCR budget:


UNRWA budget and mission:

Queen Rania on UNRWA:

Missiles in UNRWA schools:

FirstOneThrough on “Refugees”:


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Paul Gherkin is founder of the website FirstOneThrough, which is dedicated to educating people on Israel, the United States, Judaism and science in an entertaining manner so they speak up and take action. In a connected digital world, each person can be a spokesperson by disseminating news to thousands of people by forwarding articles or videos to people, or using the information to fight on behalf of a cause because In a connected digital world. YOU are FirstOneThrough.